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This is the product to choose if you don't have space for a dedicated movie room or don't want a great big LCD TV on your wall (after all, do you really want to watch Coronation Street on a big screen?). With a fantastic big picture, that frankly dwarfs large screen TVs, a built in DVD player and two built in 5 watt speakers, the DV11 is a one box cinema solution that can be packed neatly away at the end of the show.
***Picture Quality*** The picture quality is fantastic for the price (DV11 can currently be found for between £450 and £550). Great colour and contrast are produced by the 7 segment colour wheel, DLP technology, contrast ratio of 2,500:1 (this makes the blacks black and the whites white and means you can see what's going on even in dark scenes) and about 1600 ANSI lumens (this is a measure of brightness, and generally the higher the number, the better the picture). The digital connection from the built in DVD player to the projector is also said to contribute to the picture clarity. One problem that has been identified with projectors using the colour wheel DLP technology is that of 'arcing', this is where small rainbow arcs appear on the picture if you move your eyes across it. Not everyone experiences this, at first I had a real problem with it, but I don't notice anymore, and no one else has noticed it at all. You can see the picture in partial daylight, but as with most projectors, the picture is best with the blinds closed and the lights out - but hey that just adds to the cinematic experience. Even shown onto a blank white wall, the picture is very good, although I use a screen, as we haven't got many blank white walls.
***Picture Size*** The amazing thing is that you can get a really big picture from the DV11 by positioning it just a few feet from the wall/screen. The projector is capable of throwing an image 1.2 to 9.11 metres diagonal and can be positioned 1.5 to 10 metres from the screen/wall. As usual, the bigger the picture, the poorer the resolution appears and the pixels become visible. I find that with a 2 metre diagonal image, the picture is sharp and clear and I don't notice any pixels. The aspect ratio is Widescreen (16:9), 4:3
***Positioning the projector*** The DV11 is capable of rear projection, by reversing the image, but this would require a specialist rear projection screen and would take the sound further away from the audience. The projector needs to be positioned fairly low, as it throws the image upwards so I position my projector on a low coffee table about 2 metres in front of my screen and get a great big picture from it (about 2 metres diagonal).
***Keystone*** The DV11 has a keystone of + and - 16 degrees vertical. This means that you can adjust the image to make it square if the projector is positioned too high, or too low, distorting the picture. However, if you place the projector at an angle to either the left or right, you will not be able to adjust the keystone as it doesn't have horizontal keystone correction. All that this means is that the projector needs to be positioned directly in front of the screen/wall that the image is being shown on, and can't be positioned to the side. But this works fine with the coffee table solution.
***Sound*** Sound is produced by two built in 5 watt speakers with Dolby Digital sound. The effect produced is stunning for such a small machine and the sound virtually fills the room, it certainly doesn't seem to come from the machine. If you want a bigger sound, you can plug in your surround sound system or other speakers using the right leads (additional speakers and leads are not supplied with the machine)… although this would somewhat negate the whole point of this particular product, which is it's portability, ease of set up and lack of need for additional leads and equipment. There is also a 50 watt sub woofer as an optional extra (I can't comment on this as I haven't found the need to get it, because the sound is perfectly good for me).
***Noise*** The machine itself produces a noise level of about 27 db when operating, which is quiet compared to many projectors currently on the market and is easily obliterated by the sound coming from the speakers themselves.
***Portability*** Weighing about 3.5 kg, it comes with a padded case that makes it easily portable. It measures 390x278x139mm (WxDxH).You can set it up in any room with a blank wall or screen. Because the DVD player and speakers are all built in, you don't have to worry about any extra equipment. You can take it round to friends and family and I'm considering a night time garden party, using it to project onto an outside wall.
***Ease of Use*** Comes with an infra red remote control that unfortunately has no back light, so is hard to see what you're doing in the dark. Menu comes in various languages. Menu comes up on screen and navigating it takes getting used to but is simple once learned.
***Build Quality*** Fairly plasticy and the opening mechanism for the DVD player doesn't feel very substantial. The first unit that I bought had to go straight back to the shop, as the power cable didn't connect securely to the unit, causing it to spark. The shop replaced the unit for me and I haven't had any problems since.
***Lamps*** Manufacturer suggests it has 2,000 hours of lamp life. Replacement lamps cost about £99 (price found at projectorpoint.co.uk) which isn't bad compared to many other projector lamps that exceed £200 in price.
***Compatibility*** Additional leads and connections (NOT SUPPLIED) let you hook up a PC, set-top box or games console. Optoma provides a VGA to RGB Scart adaptor in the box, this lets you hook up your PC, but doesn't include a sound cable. However, the unit does have a separate audio out that allows you to connect an external sound system.
Excellent review - very informative and with all the information you could possibly need. I have to admit I am intending to speak to optoma directly before purchasing, however just reading your review has put my mind at rest at how good the machiene is. This will be my first projector and I expect it will be a great purchase - thanks for the great advice. Keep up the good work.
mightymuffin 24.10.2007 20:32
Fantastic review you have here with a lot of extremely useful information. Exceptionally well written and very well reviewed, well done xx
Morning_Becomes_Electra 24.10.2007 11:58
This isn't cheap! ~ But what a great invention~ Well reviewed :-)